Sin Offering: Lev. 4
Unlike the previous offerings we have discussed there are various degrees within this sacrifice. The material offered was determined by the nature of the offense and the rank of the individual for unintentional sins. Different offerings were made depending on whether the sacrifice was for a priest, a leader, a common person, or even the congregation as a whole.
A young bullock was offered for a sin of the whole congregation (Lev. 4:13), for a sin of the high priest (Lev. 4:3), for the high priest on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:3), and for the consecration of priests and Levites to their offices (Exo. 29:10,14,35; Num. 8:8).
A she-goat was offered for a sin by one of the common people (Lev. 4:28,32; 5:6).
This offering could be combined with others such as a whole burnt offering or peace offering, but if the sin offering was needed it had to be the first offered. Sin had to be dealt with before anything else. No doubt this was designed to make the people aware of the nature of sin and what it did to their relationship with God. It kept man from union with God, and brought death into their life. The relationship of sin and death is clear by the death required of the animal.
The offerer identified with the offering by putting his hand on the head of the animal.
The priest then kills the offering. Part of the offering is sacrificed and part is eaten. What was not eaten was taken out of the camp and burned.
Anything that touches the offering because holy, therefore when the Christian partakes of the offering of Christ he participates in the holiness of Christ.
The offering could only be made in the tabernacle to do so anywhere else is to be excommunicated from the congregation. As Christians our sacrificed is only offered in one place, which is heaven; yet we participate in this sacrifice in the worship of the Church.
This sacrifice teaches that the only place we can deal with our sins is through the sacrifice of Christ and participation in His sacrifice brings cleansing.
Christ is the fulfillment of this sacrifice (Heb. 13:10--15). This offering tells of the Lord's death as presented in Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, 2 Cor. 5:21.
The trespass offering may be regarded as representing ransom for a special wrong, while the sin offering symbolized general redemption.
The trespass offering was a ram, which was valued by a priest according to the shekel of the sanctuary (Lev. 5:15,18; 6:6; 19:21). In the case of a leper or a Nazarite, this offering was a lamb. These offerings were offered for the following offenses:
1. Trespass in ignorance against things of the Lord, that is, to inadvertently take away from God that which belonged to Him, of sacrifices, first fruits, tithes, etc. Compensation for the harm done accompanied the sacrifice, with the gift of a fifth part of the value to the priests.
2. Ignorant transgression of any definite prohibition of the law (Lev. 5:17).
3. Fraud, suppression of the truth, or perjury against a neighbor; with compensation to the victim and an additional fifth part of any property in question to the person wronged (Lev. 6:1ff).
4. Rape of a slave (Lev. 19:20-22)
5. At the purification of a leper (Lev. 14:12), and of a polluted Nazarite (Num. 6:12).
This ritual shows Christ's atoning for the damage caused by sin and has in view the injury of the sin as opposed to the guilt of the sin. This aspect of the trespass offering is seen in Psalm 51:4, "Against thee and thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight; that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest and blameless when thou judgest."